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April 10, 2010

Phil Mickelson


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, today Phil Mickelson had a very splendid 5-under par, and he stands now at 11-under par after three rounds of competition.
He became the third person today to have back-to-back eagles at the Masters, on No. 13 and 14.
Phil, if you would give us a few comments about your round, and then we'll take questions.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a fun round. Not too much exciting until later in the round there.
I birdied a couple of holes early,2 and 3, and just kind of hovered around 1-under. But I took a chance on 13. I hit a good drive and I had 7-iron to the back pin from 195. I took a chance to go at it, and hit one of the best shots of the tournament to about eight feet and ended up making that for eagle, and it spurred the rest of the round.
Now, 14, it's the easiest pin on the hole. You expect to make birdie there and I hit a good shot and thought that the ball would be close but you obviously don't expect for it to go in and that was pretty cool that it did.
And then made a birdie on 15 after driving behind the trees, I had to lay up and wedged pretty close, almost made a third one.

Q. That the closest you've been to eagle, eagle, eagle?
PHIL MICKELSON: Probably, yeah. (Laughter).

Q. Did you think it went in, was going in?
PHIL MICKELSON: The one on 15? It went across the hole from my viewpoint, but it was about eight inches behind it. But as it was crossing the hole, I was expecting it to disappear, yeah. (Laughter).

Q. It was getting loud out there today and guys have said they have not heard that in recent years. Your perspective, it seemed to be fun for the Patrons?
PHIL MICKELSON: There were roars going up all over the place. You couldn't figure out who was doing what, because there were roars happening simultaneously throughout the course. I thought that it was really a fun day to see the leaderboard change.
What was cool was that the pins were tough. We had a lot of tough pin placements, but the greens are receptive so you could still get at some. That led to a number of birdies but it also led to some bogeys. If I don't pull that shot off on 13 and miss it left, it's unlikely I'm going to get that up-and-down and so it's a two-shot swing. If you take on some risk, you might be penalized with a bogey here or there.
I think we saw a lot of turnover on the leaderboard. We didn't see too many steady rounds of par, par, par. We saw plenty of birdies and bogeys, and I think that leads to excitement.

Q. Was that about the longest roar you've ever heard on 14? Because it sounded like it went on for over a minute?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was pretty cool, yeah, that walk up, I can't believe that ball disappeared and went in. It was sure fun, especially after eagling 13, and that walk up was awesome.

Q. Another thing, just you've basically covered a five-shot gap in two holes, because Westwood made a bogey and you went 4-under. Have you ever gone from that far back to that -- to tied for the lead?
PHIL MICKELSON: It happens here. I mean, it happens here. You know, we have seen some strange things happen over the years. I think tomorrow is going to be another exciting day. I think the course is going to be set up -- the pins that are left, I think are birdie pins. I think we are going to have some excitement tomorrow, a real shootout. There's a lot of guys that are still in this, even though it looks like they are five, six shots back; there's some low rounds out there. We have seen it in the past. We have seen guys get 7-, 8-under par in the round and I think it will be very possible tomorrow.

Q. What's the distance on the long eagle?

Q. And 15?
PHIL MICKELSON: 15 was 87.

Q. What was the club on 14?

Q. After the second eagle, did you try to build up on that adrenaline or did you try to calm down and retain your composure?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was trying to make a third. I mean, I had 15 -- (laughter) -- I thought it was possible that somebody had two in a row, two eagles in a row, but I didn't think anybody had three and I was trying to go for that.
Unfortunately I pushed that drive behind the trees and didn't have a chance to go at the green.

Q. Obviously it's hard to miss the leaderboards here, so are you paying attention, one, and as Westwood keeps making birdies and pulling away, are you thinking, wow, this guy is going to get away from the whole field at all?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I wasn't thinking that. But I do look at the leaderboard quite a bit to see who is doing what. I think it's fun. I think it's fun to look at it.
Doesn't really change the way I play too much, but I thought -- I enjoy it. You see the roars and you try to figure out who did what, and the leaderboard tells you. I think this course, though, you know, you can make birdies, yes, but there are a lot of mistakes that can be made out there, too. I'm not too worried about guys running away right now.
I mean, tomorrow, yes. Tomorrow that will be more of an issue but the first two or three days, it's not that important.

Q. I apologize if this was asked. Bones said he thought you made two eagles in a row at a British Open; do you recall that at all?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. Maybe. Honestly I don't remember.

Q. As recently as three years ago, the winning score here was 1-over par, granted, completely different conditions, cold and windy. But did you see noticeable changes in the golf course since then?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I think it's more the weather. When it was cold and windy it was playing a lot longer and harder. Greens were drying out. And here, the greens are receptive and with the warm temperatures, the ball is just travelling a lot farther distance, a lot longer distance.

Q. Has it made a difference having your family here this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, yeah, this is the first week they have travelled in 11 months. It's really fun having them here, and it takes a lot of the heartache away, and it's been great.

Q. The eagles aside, how did you feel about how you played ball-striking-wise, driver?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I played about as well as I have in a long time. This is the way I expect to play, but this is -- I haven't played this way in a long time, and I feel great about my game. I mean, I'm hitting a lot of good iron shots, driving the ball well, and feel very confident with the putter, even on some treacherous greens, and I've made a bunch of putts.
And the once that I have not made, they are catching lips. They are on line, they have pretty good speed. I have been putting aggressive and I have been rolling a few three, four feet by and I'm making those coming back and it's given me a chance to try to hit some greens.

Q. The way some people played, it looked like Sunday and not Saturday; what do you do for an encore?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, we are going to have perfect weather tomorrow, again, it looks like and I expect the same. I think the course is going to be set up similarly in that you can make some birdies and challenge some pins. I think it's going to be an exciting Sunday.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Phil. Congratulations and play well.

End of FastScripts

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